How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

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How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby WidowMakers on Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:43 pm

How to make good looking, correctly sized and centered army circles and armies on your map the first time.

There seems to be a lot of issues associated with making proper army number circles look consistent and having numbers centered. A lot of time and effort goes into making these maps and any way to help move things along and make it easier to develop is a good thing.

Too many times, map makers are trying to get a map done only to be hit with the phrase, "Looks great but can you move the army circles down 1 pixel to make the number centered better." I have experienced this many times. On my first map the King of the Mountains there was much discussion. On my second map with Coleman, 8 Thoughts, I redid the entire set of circles because of this issue as well.

Then on my 3rd map, The Great Lakes, I decided to develop a system by which the circles would be consistent and allow the army numbers to be positioned perfectly the first time for both the large and small map. That way I would not waste time by having to change the small visual issues with inconsistent circles.

In this post I will go through the process (for drawing and positioning army circles) I have developed and used in the Great lakes and will continue to use for all future maps I do.

1) What is the best size and proportion for a ARMY CIRCLE and how does that relate to the actual Army Number?
The main issue with army circles in not the actual circle itself. Any of these white circles would look good on the same map.
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The issue is when the XML (the code that determines how a map will be played) is being written. Each territory has 2 sets of coordinates to locate the number that represents the number of armies a particular player has in that territory. For some time the map makers have been using the number 88, since that represents the largest double digit number (in pixel dimension) a player can have in a territory.
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The 88 is exactly 16 pixels wide by 12 pixels high. This may not seem like a big deal BUT, because the 88 has an even number of pixels for both the height and width IT WILL ONLY BE CENTERED PROPERLY IN AN EVEN SIZED CIRCLE.

So now we go back to the 21-25 pixel circles and add the number 88.
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As you can see, the even sized circles look the best because the number naturally fits due to the common center point due to each of them having an even number of pixels. The size of the circle, 22-32 pixels or whatever, is not important (some maps might look better with bigger or smaller circle sizes). It is the even number of pixels (height and width) that make the circle look good.

2) How do you make the Small version of a map from the Large version by scaling, without affecting the size and shape or the ARMY CIRCLE?
To maintain the proper size of the circles several steps to the map making process need to be added. Normally (at least this is how I first started), I would make the large map, get everyone's suggestion put in and then scale it down. I would try to find the best size that allowed it to be a good small version, not too small, but also not to close to the large version. Once that was done I would update the XML coordinates for the territories. That is when the headaches come in.
As I discussed previously, only even pixel sized circles work well with the numbers. If when scaling, the circles were scaled in a way that the computer made then odd sized, the numbers for the small map would be off centered, no matter what.

Old Process:
1) Make Large Map (Map.L.jpg)
2) Edit Large Map based on suggestions from forum.
3) Eventually post rough XML
4) Large map is done and everyone is happy. Make small map by scaling (Map.S.jpg)
5) Small map has many army number centering issues.
6) Adjust the coordinates over and over and over. (Map.xml)
7) Some circles will never allow for a truly centered look. Now what?
8) Run the CC map maker tool and post all of the maps and XML. (Map.L.jpg, Map_armies.L.jpg, Map.S.jpg, Map_armies.S.jpg, Map.xml)
9) Debate on what circle realy look bad and which ones are OK. Over and Over. Repeat steps 7-9

This can be a real pain. Back and forth, changing army coordinates when there really is no good position because they will never truly line up properly.

Now if a map maker follows the sequence below, they will be able to have army circles both the large and small maps, that allow for a centered number all of the time. (note: I use photoshop. I do not have experience with other programs but I am sure the same basic methods do apply)

New Process:
1) Make Large Map using the 22 pixel circles on their own layer (Map.L.jpg)
2) Edit Large Map based on suggestions from forum.
3) Eventually post rough XML
4) Large map is done and everyone is happy. Make small map by scaling but turn off the layer that has the army circles. Basically save the map as a large version with no circles. (Map_NOC.L.jpg)
5) Open the previously saved image, Map_NOC.L.jpg, and scale it to the size you wish to have your small map.
6) Now from your Large map file in photoshop, copy the circle layer to the Scaled down small version file. You now have a small version of your map, and a single layer or multiple layers of army circles. Since these circles are the same 22 pixel ones you used on the large map, they will not have any issues accepting the army number when the XML is properly written. Save the small version. (Map.S.jpg)
7) Adjust the coordinates for the small map (Map.xml)
8) Run the CC map maker tool and post all of the maps and XML. (Map.L.jpg, Map_armies.L.jpg, Map.S.jpg, Map_armies.S.jpg, Map.xml)
9) Sit back and realize the armies are centered and no one can complain about them.


I hope this helps.
Last edited by WidowMakers on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby DiM on Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:47 pm

bravo. =D>
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Postby KEYOGI on Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:48 pm

I had this stickied, but I think it's more appropriate in the Map Making Tools thread along with the army circles PNG file. Good work WM.
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Postby Sparqs on Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:30 am

Yes, thank you! I was confused about all the fuss over the army circles, but that is very clearly written.
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Postby RjBeals on Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:58 am

Excellent work Widow. I noticed all the drama around the army shadows so I decided I didn't want the headache & left them out. But this should for sure help anyone struggling with centering numbers on those dreaded shadows.
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Postby RjBeals on Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:47 am

To elaborate on WidowMakers excellent thread,
I'll post a simple Photoshop tutorial on how to make an army circle.


While in Photoshop, click and hold on the selection tool and it will expand to show other shapes. Select the Circle shape.

Image

Then choose a fixed size of 22 x 22 pixels.
(See top of thread for other options & details on this)

Image

Then create a new layer for your circles. Or you can create 1 layer per circle and keep them within a folder. Up to you. While on that layer, click & fill your circle with solid white.

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Then adjust the blending options or Opacity on the layer (or folder) until you are satisfied. I also used the blending options to add a 1px outer stroke around each circle.

Image

Good Luck!


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Link to Photoshop Layered File
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small

Postby Tieryn on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:13 am

WidowMakers wrote: The 88 is exactly 16 pixels high by 12 pixels wide. This may not seem like a big deal BUT, because the 88 has an even number of pixels for both the height and width IT WILL ONLY BE CENTERED PROPERLY IN AN EVEN SIZED CIRCLE.


Isn't it 12 high and 16 wide? and does it now have to be 24 wide?
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Postby Lone.prophet on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:21 am

^^ no it doesnt have to be 24 wide but that does look good
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small

Postby yeti_c on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:22 am

Tieryn wrote:Isn't it 12 high and 16 wide?


Actually yes.

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Postby Tieryn on Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:40 am

Lone.prophet wrote:^^ no it doesnt have to be 24 wide but that does look good


Now that we have to fit 888 (for colourblind lettering), at 8 pixels wide per character, that would mean 24 wide -armies-, let alone circles.... (for a circle I suspect it would be up near 28/30 to fit in the corners.
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Postby Lone.prophet on Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:49 am

Tieryn wrote:
Lone.prophet wrote:^^ no it doesnt have to be 24 wide but that does look good


Now that we have to fit 888 (for colourblind lettering), at 8 pixels wide per character, that would mean 24 wide -armies-, let alone circles.... (for a circle I suspect it would be up near 28/30 to fit in the corners.


well it doesnt have to fit in the circle

and 88 isnt centered the same as 888
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Postby Qwert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:02 am

when i speak these before,everybody say that aim stypid.
Best circle is 24px.
Also i have very long waste of time in mine map Western Front,when mod squad dont want to listen,that is imposible to number 1 be in center of circle. Of course when you centered number,you use number 8.
But now when WM say,hes smart.
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby a.sub on Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:02 pm

this was uber helpful thanks!
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby oaktown on Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:07 pm

I guess since this has already been bumped, I may as well share my army circle suggestion...

I always work from the large map first, then scale it down to small when things are nearly finished. In order to avoid having to recreate the circles on the small map (which I did on my first maps) I realized that if I start with 24 pixel army circles (recommended anyway) they will become 18 pixel circles if the image is scaled down to 75% of it's original size (840 x .75 = 630).

Now you've got 18 pixel circles, which aren't big enough... solution: a 2 or 3 (if you have room) pixel stroke, the color of the circle. 3 pixels on each side gives you a 24 pixel circle. Done.
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby cairnswk on Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:01 pm

I start on the small map, with 22px circles.
then when i upsize the map, the circles usually become 28px
so i simply go through one by one and re-size each one to 24w x 24h.
Takes about 10 mintues.
Not a big deal.
Certainly not as big as centering. :)
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby WidowMakers on Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:43 pm

Regardless of which size I make, I use 22 px circles.
Then when I resize the map (larger or smaller), I take the circle layers from the original file and put them into the new file.
I then reposition them to fit.

22 pxl for both large and small.

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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby e_i_pi on Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:08 am

I'm surprised no-ones upped this yet...

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...and the Photoshop file, for easy copy pasting...

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=41b6bc5b701f6a72d2db6fb9a8902bda
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby MrBenn on Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:17 am

There is an assortment of army numbers available in the mapmaking tools :arrow: Look at mibi's Army Number PNG image
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby jyor0385 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:14 pm

I have a question that I don't think was answered earlier in this thread. Are the x and y cords for the XML document for the top-left, bottom-left, top-right, bottom-right, or center-center (or some other reference) point of the numbers?
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Re:

Postby luxCRUSADER on Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:27 pm

RjBeals wrote:To elaborate on WidowMakers excellent thread,
I'll post a simple Photoshop tutorial on how to make an army circle.


While in Photoshop, click and hold on the selection tool and it will expand to show other shapes. Select the Circle shape.

Image

Then choose a fixed size of 22 x 22 pixels.
(See top of thread for other options & details on this)

Image

Then create a new layer for your circles. Or you can create 1 layer per circle and keep them within a folder. Up to you. While on that layer, click & fill your circle with solid white.

Image

Then adjust the blending options or Opacity on the layer (or folder) until you are satisfied. I also used the blending options to add a 1px outer stroke around each circle.

Image

Good Luck!


Image

Link to Photoshop Layered File


Just wanna say THANKS A MILLION FOR THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =D>

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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby theBastard on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:40 pm

I have not Photoshop, is here anywhere tutorial how do Army Circles in Corel Paint Shop Pro?
thanks.
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby natty dread on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:48 pm

theBastard wrote:I have not Photoshop, is here anywhere tutorial how do Army Circles in Corel Paint Shop Pro?
thanks.


No there isn't.
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby captainwalrus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:09 pm

Is there any reason why army circles need to be "perfect"? I just sort of find a good sized circle brush and turn the opacity down, then I just click behind all the army numbers.
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby captainwalrus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:10 pm

And woah, I wish I had seen this earlier. I wasted so much time a while back trying to make the army numbers, but it would have taken 2 seconds if I had seen what e_i_pi posted.
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Re: How to make proper Army Circles for both Large and Small Map

Postby theBastard on Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:47 pm

what about others programs as Photoshop? Corel or GIMP, is here anybody who use it and can write tutorial for Army Circles?
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